285: Stepping Into Your Power Years


I have coached hundreds of women as they transition into menopause.

I have interviewed and been mentored by dozens of professionals who specialize in women’s health at midlife.

Heck, I AM a woman in midlife.

All this to say…

I have learned a few things about the menopausal years, most notably perhaps, is that it is both an ending AND a BEGINNING!

And this podcast is dedicated to helping you make the most of that beginning:)

Stepping Into Your Power Years

Transcripts are auto-generated.

Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them. Not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.

Courtney Townley 0:27
Hello, my friends and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always, I’m really glad you’re here with me today. And I hope you are being good to yourself. I hope you’re being gentle with yourself. I hope you’re being gentle with the people around you. There’s a lot going on in the world right now. There’s a lot of opportunity for reactivity. So I hope you are doing what needs to be done to keep yourself centered. And to really show up in this one and very precious life in a way that makes you feel like you’re in integrity with yourself.

Courtney Townley 1:04
Now I’ve coached an awful lot of women through midlife. In fact, the bulk of my clientele are midlife women, women spanning anywhere from the ages of like late 30s to, I would say early 70s. And I’ve had the awesome opportunity of interviewing an awful lot of professionals who specialize in helping women to transition more gracefully, into midlife. And those professionals span a wide range of disciplines. I have been mentored by some incredible teachers who help with midlife transition. And heck, I am a woman who’s in her own midlife.

Courtney Townley 1:48
So all this to say. I’ve learned a few things along the way, about what it takes to step into our power at midlife. And there is such an opportunity for that midlife as I see it is really both an ending and a beginning. So today, I really want to talk about ways to make the most out of this beginning. Because there’s really two approaches to the midlife transition. There is a path of wasting power, and there is a path of generating power.

Courtney Townley 2:39
Obviously, I want to encourage you to take the second path. I want to help you generate power at midlife. But first let’s talk about how do we waste power at midlife. We waste power by being pissed off, that we are at midlife. When we’re angry at our bodies, when we’re angry at past choices that we’ve made. When we’re angry at suffering, the consequences of choices that we have made. We waste power by being resistant to learning new skill sets, or changing and adapting to this new phase of life. We waste power by being problem focused, or being really rigid in our approach to things like self care. We waste power by being reactive. By living life in a way that is really just by default. We just let life blow us around rather than making very conscious decisions about how we want to be showing up.

Courtney Townley 3:55
There’s always in life and opportunity to waste a lot of power. And at midlife, women specifically are going through some massive hormonal shifts, which the unfortunate side of that is that we do not manage stress, as well chemically, as we once did. So if we want to protect and generate power at this stage of our life, we have to take radical responsibility for protecting and generating power at this age and stage of life. So what does that look like?

Courtney Townley 4:40
What is generating power at midlife really mean? Well, it looks like getting curious about how you’ve been living. And if the things that you are doing the ways that you are showing up are actually serving you at this stage of your life. generating power at midlife, definitely looks like being solution oriented versus problem focused. It looks like being flexible in the way that we approach self-care.

Courtney Townley 5:17
A allowing ourselves to evolve and change. Honoring the desires that we have, that may be very different from desires that we had 10 or 20 years ago. generating power looks like expressing who you are revealing who you are, rather than continuing to move through the world in a way that you think is going to make everybody happy. Because hopefully, you’ve learned by now, that’s just never the case. So I am very interested in my own work personally and professionally, of generating power, not wasting power. And I’m assuming that you are too, which is why you’re listening to this show. So today, I want to dissect really four camps of skill sets, that I teach my students and my community to help them generate power at midlife. And really, at any stage of life, I just happen to work with a large majority of people who are in midlife.

Courtney Townley 6:34
The four camps of skill sets are these, fuelling your power, which means really honoring your chemistry, honoring what your body needs chemically. Secondly, protecting your power, making sure that you are organizing and structuring your life and making decisions that allow you to protect the valuable resource of power, because power is a limited resource. And you can spend an awful lot of it very quickly. And then you have nothing else to fuel your day. The third thing is believing in your power, which is a lot of mindset work. If you don’t believe in your own power, nothing else really matters, you’re not going to protect it, you’re not going to feel it, you’re not going to step into your power if you don’t even believe in your own power. And then fourth, embracing your power, which to me is really allowing yourself to have a full experience of being human, which means we stop fearing our life. And we start allowing our life. So I want to break down each one of these camps of skill sets, and give you maybe some tips on where you can start or things at least to consider in these areas.

Courtney Townley 7:55
Let’s start with fueling your power, which again, is really speaking to the chemical needs of your body. So fueling your power, it means taking responsibility for giving your body what it needs to perform in a powerful way. And if we think about this, from the perspective of like a car, we know that a car needs a certain kind of fuel to run properly. And while especially in this economy, we would all prefer that our cars run on water. They don’t write, they run on fuel on gas. And even for some of your cars, more specific types of gas, maybe you have a diesel truck, right, maybe you need to use like premium fuel. But your car has specific fuel requirements. And you’re not a car. You’re nothing like a car.

Courtney Townley 8:50
But you to do have specific fuel requirements. And these requirements are not complicated. We make them complicated, but they’re really at the core quite basic. We need adequate restoration. We cannot be pressing the gas pedal down all the time. We need to have periods of the day, large chunks of the night, where we have our foot on the brake rather than the gas pedal. It keeps our nervous system healthy. It keeps our immune system healthy. It keeps everything running well. So we need restoration. We need real food. We need food that actually provides nutrition to the cells of our body. We need hydration. We need connection with other humans. We need movement. Now the dosages of these things of course change over the course of your life. But your fuel source needs to remain fairly constant. You will always need these things in some amount. But again, that amount will evolve over time.

Courtney Townley 10:09
I said this earlier, I want to reiterate here that at midlife, we are dealing with the highest amounts of stress that we’ve probably ever dealt with in our lifetime. Because life has become very layered and complex by midlife, we have a lot of responsibilities. We’ve added a lot of things to our life. And maybe we haven’t let go of some things that probably don’t need to be in our life. So we’re living at a period with the most amount of stress, and then simultaneously living at a time with the least amount of hormones to help us manage stress.

Courtney Townley 10:51
If we want our body to continue to perform in a powerful way for us, if we want to show up in our life in a powerful way, we have to take radical responsibility for doing what we can to unpack unnecessary stress from our life. Most women that I work with at midlife, are shorting themselves. On those basic fuel requirements that I mentioned earlier, they’re shorting themselves on sleep, they’re shorting themselves on food, or at least they’re shorting themselves on nutrient dense food. They’re shorting themselves on connection, because who’s got time for that? They’re drinking more coffee and more alcohol but less water. They’re sacrificing movement for everybody else’s needs or to get more work done, and then wonder why they feel like they have no power. So we have to take responsibility for fueling our own power.

Courtney Townley 12:03
Most of you have heard this 10,000 times over if you’ve listened to this Podcast for a while. But if you need help with this, there is a free five part video series on my website called Five2Thrive, where I talk about those basic elements and exactly why they are so impactful to the human body. So if you need a reminder, or you need some tips and strategies for making those basics, a little bit more consistent, you can sign up for that free video series by going to graceandgrit.com/five2thrive.

Courtney Townley 12:42
The second element, the second camp of skill sets to step fully into your power at midlife is we have to learn how to protect our power. And this again just speaks to the fact that power is renewable. It is also limited. I got these new solar lights in my yard. They’re in these little mason jars. And it’s really cool because I hang them all over my yard. And they have a little solar panel at the top of the jar. And all day long. They’re soaking up power from the sun. And then at night, they turn on. And they’re really cool because they kind of turn on and off. They just make the yard look so magical. And of course at some point, I think it’s like four or five hours later, they were out, they turn off because they have lost their power source. And ladies, you are no different. You can feel your power. And also acknowledge that fueling your power does not mean you have endless power. So it’s really helpful in protecting your power to know your priorities and values at this age and stage of life.

Courtney Townley 14:05
In other words, you have to know yourself. You have to know what’s important to you, and how you want to dedicate the limited amount of power that you get each day. And in order to know yourself on that level. You’ve got to spend time with yourself. And I see an awful lot of women never making time for themselves, because they are rationalizing that everybody else’s needs and wants are more important than them creating time for themselves. Once you know yourself, it’s so much easier to plan your life accordingly to live your life by design rather than by default. Otherwise, we’re just living reactively we’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall, we’re just constantly putting out fires. And then wondering why we always feel exhausted.

Courtney Townley 15:10
And a big part of protecting our power is setting boundaries. I know we don’t like that, right? boundaries can feel hard, because it feels like you have to risk disappointing other people and you do. But let me be clear that the boundaries that need to be set to protect your power doesn’t just refer to boundaries that need to be set with other people. It’s also boundaries that you set for yourself. How much time are you going to spend working? Right?

Courtney Townley 15:49
When are you going to bed? When are you turning off Netflix? How much alcohol are you allowing yourself to drink? How much sugar are you going to eat? I love to remind myself and all of my students that boundaries are an act of self love. Because when we look at boundaries through that lens, they get so much easier to enforce. Boundaries are not an act of cruelty. You don’t set boundaries, because you don’t like people or you don’t like yourself. You set boundaries for the exact opposite reason. Because you care about your relationships, and you want them to stay healthy, because you care about yourself. And in order to take care of yourself. Boundaries are a piece of that.

Courtney Townley 16:46
And a boundary, this is a really big part that a lot of people struggle with, is we set the boundary, but then we don’t enforce it. So we don’t respect our own boundaries. We say we’re not going to drink alcohol for a few days. But then we come home and pour ourselves a glass of wine because we’re feeling a little bit stressed. So we don’t even respect our own boundaries. And then of course, that extends into letting other people disrespect the boundaries we have for them. So the other thing I wanted to mention around boundaries is that part of setting boundaries is padding your environment. Recognizing that to protect your power, you have to protect yourself from distractions. You might have to protect yourself from people, which can be distractions. And also protect yourself from even temptations. Right?

Courtney Townley 17:51
So, if you’re trying to eat less sugar in your life, and by the way, sugars on my mind, because it’s the masterclass topic inside of Rumble & Rise next month. But if you’re trying to eat less sugar, having a ton of sugar in your kitchen is probably not a great idea. Right? So it’s worth considering how might you need to pad your environment in order to protect your power? Do you need to turn off notifications on your phone? Do you need to put a sign on your office door? Do you need to get all of the sugar or alcohol out of your house? Do you need to ask people to call before they just show up at your front door. I have no idea what padding your environment looks like for you. I do know that padding your environment can go a very long way in helping you to protect your power.

Courtney Townley 18:48
The third camp of skill sets and I say camp of skill sets because underneath each of these camps, there are tons of skill sets that we could dive into. And obviously today I’m just touching on a few. So the third camp is believing in your power. This means that basically beliefs, whatever you believe is a recycled thought. If you think a lot of thoughts that make you doubt your power, you will not do things to generate or protect your power. And again, the things that we believe are things that we have practiced thinking over and over and over again. Think of Santa Claus. Right. Santa Claus is a story that we tell our children over and over again. I know not everybody does, but a lot of you can relate to that. You can if you can believe you cannot believe right? We believe the things we practice. So if you can believe in Santa, if you You can believe in the Easter Bunny, if you can believe in the tooth fairy, you can believe in yourself. And I know you may not believe in those things anymore. But there was a period where you may have. And it may not have been those things, it could be something else.

Courtney Townley 20:18
Belief is a practice. And we engage in the practice of developing new beliefs by making sure we’re looking for evidence of the things that we want to believe in. So we did teach our child about Santa Claus and our it was a big Christmas thing. Every year, for many years, we reinforced this belief that Santa was real. And I think I do have some guilt about that. Now, I don’t know I have mixed emotions about it. But the point being, we went through some pretty elaborate endeavors to really enforce this belief with my son, my dad would actually get out on the balcony of the house, and he would, you know, leave little footprints from the reindeer, and he would jingle the bells, to signify that Santa was taking off in his sleigh, we would leave like pieces of carrots out on the patio. So when my son woke up, he had evidence that Santa was real. Now, it was false evidence. But to him, it was evidence.

Courtney Townley 21:31
My point being, whatever evidence you are looking for, you will find if you are looking for a lot of reasons why you have no power, or you cannot generate power, you will find a lot of it. And I’m not saying you specifically I’m saying you to every human out there. Our brain loves to go to work looking for evidence, right, and we direct it towards the evidence we want to find. The brain loves to solve problems. I want to prove to myself that I have no power. Great says the brain. Let me look for all the ways in which that’s true. But here’s the great news about that. If you look for evidence for why you are so capable, why you have so much power, all the ways in which you can generate power and protect your power. You will find that too. So consider how do you want to show up at midlife?

Courtney Townley 22:46
What do you want to believe at this point in your life? Not what have you believed? What do you want to believe? And start practicing thoughts that are in line with that. So what am I very unusable thoughts when I first started out in business that honestly kind of sneaks up on me every once in a while and still bites me in the butt is I suck at business. That is an old belief that I don’t even I don’t know where it came from. I don’t need to know where it came from. I just know that I have a tremendous amount of practice with that line of thinking, I suck at business. And to tell myself that I’m awesome at business doesn’t feel true. Like it feels like way too big of a leap. So I enter a more graceful way, and more graceful ways are, you know it is possible that with enough practice, I’ll become better at business that feels true. And that feels slightly better than I suck at business.

Courtney Townley 24:05
Another thought I often pull is, you know I might be wrong, that I suck at business. I haven’t practiced enough to know that feels true. And that two feels slightly better than I suck at business. Another option is you know I’m becoming a woman who makes confident business decisions. That feels true. I am becoming someone who is practicing these things and as I practice I become more confident. That to feel slightly better than I suck at business. And doing the work with my thoughts to make myself feel slightly better is no small thing. Because when I feel better, I do better business as a practice, health is a practice transitioning through mid life in a way that protects and generates power is a practice.

Courtney Townley 25:14
Belief is also a practice. So what do you want to believe, about midlife? It’s really such a powerful question to ask such an important question to ask, What do you want to believe about midlife? What do you want to believe about your ability to navigate midlife with grace and ease. Because once you can identify what you want to believe, you can start getting to work at thinking thoughts that help to solidify that belief. You’re not going to believe it at the beginning, you’re going to practice new thoughts. And with enough time, and enough practice, those new thoughts become new beliefs.

Courtney Townley 26:03
Alright, let’s talk about this fourth camp of skill sets that help us to step into our power at midlife. And this is embracing your power. This means feeling your emotions experiencing fully what it means to be human. So I always love to remember that emotions are a sign that I’m alive. Emotions, validate that I am alive that my power button is on. If my power button was off, I wouldn’t feel anything. I would feel numb. Worse yet, I might be dead, right. So anger is powerful sadness is powerful grief is powerful.

Courtney Townley 26:53
Nothing is wrong with you if you experience these things. But when you make it mean, something is wrong with you, you will act in ways that actually rob you of your power that drain you of your power that waste your power. So when you make it mean that something is wrong with you for feeling sad, or being frustrated, or having self doubt, you will likely do one of three things. You will react to the emotion, which means you may lash out, you may behave in a way that you definitely have regrets about later. You might buffer which just basically means that you do something to distract yourself from that emotion that temporarily feels better.

Courtney Townley 27:52
So you eat something you drink something you watch Netflix you get on social media. And while those things all offer you temporary relief, they all also have long term consequences. The other thing that we do is we get stuck in these thought loops. I feel bad. And then I feel bad about feeling bad. I have thoughts that make me feel worse about my emotion. And then on and on that cycle goes. I feel bad. I think thoughts that make me feel bad, I behave in ways that make me feel even worse. And then I start the loop all over again.

Courtney Townley 28:31
I continue to feel bad, I continue to generate thoughts that make me feel worse. I continue to do things that make me feel even worse than that. And we can live our entire life in that cycle. So all of this to say, emotion is power, all emotion is power. So embrace it, own it, feel it, acknowledge it, learn from it.

Courtney Townley 29:03
You know, last week was a rough week on so many levels. It was a rough week. For me personally, I just had a lot going on in my business and personal life. It was a rough week because of the shootings in Texas. I think that affected all of us in such a big way. I personally was also premenstrual last week. So there was this flood of emotions. And I gotta be honest with you, it was a flood of emotions that I would rather have never experienced because it was a lot of anger and sadness and grief and frustration and self doubt. I cried a lot. I spent time intentionally in supportive spaces with supportive people. I also spent intentional time by myself I asked for what I needed where I could. My husband is amazing in that regard.

Courtney Townley 30:07
When I am feeling really misaligned in my life when I am processing really big things. He has learned to identify that before I even say anything, and he’ll be one of the first to offer me just space. What do you need? Do you need time alone? Do you want to go for a hike? Do you need to go away for a couple days? He sees it often before I even communicate it. But what I did ultimately is I made space in my nervous system for this stuff to move. And what that looked like more specifically for me is I oscillated between rest and movement. So I went for some hikes, I spent time outside, I went and worked out, I also rested hard. I slept in, I took naps, I watched movies. And for me, this is what embracing my power looked like last week. It looks like giving it space to move. And on the other side of allowing that I felt all these emotions, I reminded myself that I was feeling all of these emotions surged through me. Big because I care. And caring is power.

Courtney Townley 31:41
So often, we get pissed at our emotions, we want to numb our emotions, we want to escape them, we want to deny them, we want to resist them. And I just want to offer that when we do that. We are basically denying and numbing and resisting our own power. So when I embraced it, all the dark and the ugly and the stuff I’d rather not feel I just allowed it to be. I did what needed to be done to honor it and let it move. On the other side of that I was in a much better position to think clearly and take meaningful action.

Courtney Townley 32:23
So in closing, I am a really big fan. Actually, I’m not a really big fan, but I’ve learned to be a fan of doing things wrong before I get them. Right. I wish it wasn’t that way. But I have learned that it just is the way and I have learned to be okay with that. That’s what I mean by being a fan of that. I’ve learned to be okay with doing things wrong before I get them right because honestly, I don’t think I would know how to do them right if I didn’t do them wrong. And the first half of our life is really trying so many things on and doing an awful lot of things in a way that contribute to our own suffering. And mid life is really your chance to course correct to renovate how you fuel your own power, how you protect your own power, how you embrace your own power, what you believe about your own power. mid life is not a punishment.

Courtney Townley 33:33
I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, it’s an invitation to listen, to learn to grow, to let go to reorganize, to express to design, to take responsibility and to ultimately step into what can be your most powerful years. And if you’re a listener, you know this but I will say it in every episode. If you could use a little help with that if you could use a little help transitioning into those power years to really develop these camps of skill sets. This is the work that we do inside of Rumble & Rise. So you can check out all the details of Rumble & Rise membership by going to graceandgrit.com/readytorumble. Take sweet sweet care of yourself my friends and I will see you again next week take care

Courtney Townley 34:43
Thank you for listening to the grace and grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit and Anything is possible



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